In the recent days, China’s state media have been reporting that COVID-19 is surging in different parts of the country, leading to international events being postponed, districts going into lockdown, and residents in outbreak areas being tested overnight.
Local authorities in Yingkou City of China’s northeastern Liaoning province on May 15 reported 13 local cases of COVID-19 transmission all linked to a photography studio. Nine areas across the city of 2 million people have been elevated to medium COVID-19 risk, and tens of thousands of residents were lining up to be tested overnight.
According to the official report, all confirmed cases are employees of the local “Golden Childhood Photography Studio” and are also close contacts of individuals, Li and Lu, who tested positive in Anhui province on May 13.
This has led to local Chinese communist officials in Anhui and Liaoning blaming each other for being the source of the outbreak.
On May 13, five cases were confirmed in Anhui’s provincial capital of Hefei city as well as Lu’an city. The official notification identified Li, a resident in Feixi county of Hefei city who had visited three other provinces and five cities in the past 18 days, as the source of the local epidemic. The Anhui Provincial Office of Epidemic Prevention and Control issued a notice on May 14 stating that Li traveled to Dalian city in Liaoning and was in close contact with an infected patient there, while the Dalian Center for Disease Control and Prevention denied the claim.
The cases triggered local authorities to track down 3,048 people as close contacts. Both provinces have also postponed events, including the Anhui Huangshan International Marathon, the 14th Anhui International Tea Industry Expo, and Dalian International Walking Festival.
The Bayuquan district of Yingkou city in Liaoning and residential neighborhoods of Lu’an city in Anhui have been under lockdown since May 14.
Meanwhile, mandatary mass testing for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) virus, commonly known as coronavirus, has been carried out in both provinces and were still going past midnight on May 15.
Tens of thousands of people have already been tested in Feixi County in Anhui.
A resident in Shangpai Town of Feixi, which is listed as a medium-risk location, told The Epoch Times that the area is not yet in lockdown. However, people within a several kilometer radius have been forced to get tested.
“They shouted in the middle of the night and knocked on doors from house to house to get us to do the testing. Hundreds of personnel, including staff from the community offices and doctors, came to do the nucleic acid tests on us.”
Meanwhile, it is reported that Li and Lu had stayed in Bayuquan District of Yingkou city in Liaoning, and had traveled back and forth between the Golden Childhood Photography Studio and Aiju Jinyang Hotel many times before arriving in Anhui.
An online video showed that at 10:30 p.m. on May 14, residents of Bayuquan District, including children and the elderly, were still waiting in line to be tested. The end of the line was not visible. Yingkou city officials reported on May 15 that Bayuquan District had completed its first round of mandatory testing for all residents, and that a second round would start on May 16.
Currently, nine neighborhoods and villages in Yingkou city, including one in Gaizhou and eight in Bayuquan District, have been upgraded to medium-risk areas. Vehicles and personnel in the district are not allowed to leave without special reasons; those needing to leave are required to show a negative test within 72 hours of departure.
The Epoch Times learned from a local shop owner in Gaizhou that there was also a confirmed case in Yangdian Village. Now, the whole village has been blocked off and residents cannot leave.
“We are very close to it (Yangdian Village) and we are not allowed to go out,” he said. “Although some stores are still open, there are no people on the street. I haven’t gone out for a day, and there are no customers after opening (the store). ”
He added that the local residents had all undergone the nucleic acid test on May 14.
A staff member at Aiju Jinyang Hotel where Li had stayed told The Epoch Times that the hotel is now a facility for isolation and does not take any bookings, with all hotel staff now quarantined in the hotel while awaiting instructions for future arrangement. The staff member refused to answer other questions about the situation.
The Epoch Times reached out to the Golden Childhood Photography Studio for comment.
With the Chinese communist regime concealing the epidemic in China, the actual numbers of infected people in Yingkou City and Anhui province are unknown.
Hong Ning, Zhang Bei, Xiao Lusheng, Gu Xiaohua, and Zhang Yujie contributed to this report.